For Balmat’s fourth release, we turn our attention close to home: to the Mallorca-born, Barcelona-based artist Nueen, aka Nacho Pezzati.
Nueen has been developing his highly personal style of blissfully Balearic ambient over the past few years, with releases on labels like Quiet Time Tapes and Good Morning Tapes. On Diagrams of Thought, he explores new depths in his sound. His atmospheres remain bucolic, but there’s a disturbance at work, a hint of uncertainty swirling beneath seemingly placid pads.
While Diagrams of Thought retains the ambient (or at least ambient-adjacent) focus of all Balmat’s releases so far, the album also marks new frontiers for the label; the album’s first half is graceful and largely beatless, but the mood grows murkier with the foggy drones of “Dome” and the intimations of liquid drum ’n’ bass on “Maxima”; “Veta,” meanwhile, might just represent the most forceful rhythm to appear on a Balmat release yet.
Despite the album’s considerable range of moods, tones, and textures, it’s all tied together by a singular preoccupation, says Nueen:
“Lately, I’ve become conscious of my fascination for the notion of the break, on a conceptual and musical level. What’s temporary and what’s permanent. Thinking and making out of what isn’t there, yet is. Some people would call it silence, but it could also be a skip of the needle, an ellipsis. Something very basic—or Basic Channelesque. A set of sounds and silences, structuring just a hint of rhythm. Sounds that become silences, and silences that become sounds.
The other day, I was saying to someone that for me, the sound of electric current running through the power lines above the train tracks is the most ambient sound there is. That infinity in which you never quite grasp all the harmonics and reverberations. It’s a form of time detained or expanded. Recently, I’ve been rereading Morton Feldman—you can tell, right? Vertical time, the silence that sounds. A sort of sacredness. My mind is blown every time I walk into a church, for whatever that’s worth.”